Brexit: EU artists will need visas to perform in UK from 2021


The Home Office has confirmed that once the Brexit transition period is over, EU artists and sports players will be required to apply and pay for a visa if they wish to perform in the UK.

Currently, freedom of movement allows artists and their crews to travel freely between the EU and the UK. However, this will end with the transition period at the end of December 2020.

From January 2021, EU and non-EU performers will be required to apply for a Tier 5 visa (a short-term work visa) and prove they have nearly £1,000 in savings at least 90 days before applying. This sum is to prove they can support themselves unless they are already fully approved.

Artists, performers and athletes will need this visa if they wish to participate in competitions, auditions, promotional activities, workshops, presentations, festivals and cultural events. It will cost £244.

Leading up to this announcement, UK music groups, including The Musician’s Union, had been calling for the Government to consider a two-year working visa on a multi-entry permit. This would have allowed artists to travel freely around the EU and UK for work. During debates, Culture Minister Nigel Adams had described the protection of free movement for artists as “absolutely essential”.

He said: “Touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry and we recognise the importance of the continued ease of movement of musicians, equipment and merchandise once we’ve left the EU.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, commented on the announcement: “We are deeply disappointed that free movement for musicians and other artists from the EU has been ruled out and we would ask the UK government to reconsider our call for a two-year multi-entry visa.

“It is vital that any immigration system supports musicians who will need to tour in the EU post-Brexit. We urge the Government to listen to the creative sector to ensure that the “broader unsponsored route” works to support the UK’s creative industries and those in the EU who together generate so much wealth for the UK.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians
Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

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